This afternoon we have something a bit different for you, as I take you off...
Following on from yesterday’s gorgeous autumn wedding we have another beauty to share with you today courtesy of Kate Williams Photography. Today’s wedding took place at Melling Tithe Barn which gave Elizabeth and Gary the blank canvas they were looking for to create the wedding of their dreams. With a budget of just £2000 they went about enlisting friends and family with lots of DIY jobs and really went to town with their many DIY projects. With a beautiful autumnal colour palate, they worked in the soft orange and brown tones perfectly and created a truly beautiful day.
Elizabeth and Gary were married on 24th October 2015. ‘We had a small official ceremony at the registry office at St Georges Hall on 19th October and then our big ‘do’ at Melling Tithe Barn in Merseyside on 24th. This included a ‘meaningful’ ceremony followed by a reception in the same room. I won’t refer to the official ceremony from here on in as it was the day at Melling Tithebarn that is the most important and interesting. I (bride) have a long family association with the Tithebarn as we have had several family parties there and both my sister and brother had their wedding receptions there. It is a hidden gem. 400 years old and slightly outdated in terms of modern venues, but a perfect blank canvas for us to dress how we want and very cheap to hire. We had 120 including children, (12). From engagement to wedding took 5 months planning.
How they met
I am an artist and musician and Gary is also a musician. We met 4 years ago when we were both on the same bill at a festival in an old Victorian bandstand. Apart from playing our sets, we talked all day long after the festival had finished and we hadn’t even noticed everyone had gone home. Its cheesy but we fell in love that day and have been inseparable soul mates ever since.
When we can we escape to a little cottage near Appleby in the Lake District. Gary proposed to me on a little bridge over a picturesque waterfall. We didn’t have money for rings but it didn’t matter. I had been ill for some time and was asking the universe for something good to happen, so of course I said yes!
How did you allocate your budget
We had a budget of £2000. I am the last of five of my siblings to get married, and each wedding has been a full blown affair with 1-200 guests but all on very small budgets and with a lot of creativity and effort from family and friends.
Where did you splurge/save with your budget
We only really splurged on the honeymoon, to go away to our hideaway in the Lakes for a week, without the kids. We saved in so many ways by having friends and family help us with pretty much everything else. We made as much as we could. Even our son Daniel made our wedding rings from loom bands (as our poet and ceremony conductor said, ‘Loom bands are the most precious material known to children and these were made with the honest and sweet love of a child.’) Daniel even made and decorated a box to put them in.
How did you choose your photographer
Kate and I studied together and She not only has the creativity of an artist but is the most professional and capable photographer who has an eye for capturing all of those special moments you don’t want to forget. She was amazing that day, following us from the morning when we were getting ready to the end of the night when she got all the kids to run round me with sparklers in the garden at night! I love how she has edited and selected the photographs and have recommended her to many other people.
I originally wanted a second hand dress but in the end opted for one from DIYdress.com where they made a dress to my measurements for £90. I had a friend do some slight alterations. My shoes fited the orange/bronze to go with the autumnal theme. I made my own headdress after foraging for ivy and natural forms in the woods. I made it with wire, raffia and a glue gun! I also wore an ivory top hat, which is one of my trademarks as a musician which I decorated too.
The Suit and Bridesmaids
Garys suit and shirt was from Atom retro. Our son Daniel wore a waistcoat and shirt from Asda and a bow tie and trilby which he bought in a vintage warehouse. The bridesmaids were ages 2 and 6 and wore autumn fairy costumes from Amazon.
Theme or Colour Scheme
The whole scheme was centred around autumn, harvest, vintage and homemade. Our feature colour was orange.
I made my own bouquet from foraged heather, natural forms and some big colourful fake flowers, all tied together with ribbons and string to match my headdress.
We adorned the whole venue with an array of decorations.
– An archway made from driftwood, collected from Formby beach over 15 years by my ‘best woman’ and tied together with cableties and adorned with ivy, fairy lights, miniature pumpkins and flowers.
– A central hanging wreath, again ivy and fake flowers.
– Hoola hoops covered in white duct tape and startchy yarn made into ‘spirograph’ style patterns.
– An open fireplace, dressed with ivy, lights and flowers and berries, with vintage furniture and standard lamps.
– Carved pumpkins with hearts and candles
– Bunting made from autumn leaves and apples.
We had a decorating party instead of a stag/hen do where our best friends and family came together to make everything and install it.
We had homemade autumnal punch and biscuits on arrival and then we catered for everyone ourselves by making five different delicious autumn stews, served with crusty bread and salad (The venue had no cooking facilities, just a basic kitchen, so we hired soup tureens to serve the stews) We had wedding cake and other home made sweets for dessert.
My mum made the wedding cake, which was totally vegan. The bottom cake was a fruit cake, with a middle layer of ginger cake and a top tier of chocolate. It was huge, and all gone by the end of the night.
We had our musical friend do sets for us and we even got up and performed ourselves! Phillip Allan played the piano as people arrived. Then there were performances in the ceremony from my sister, Victoria Wasley, my brother in law, Simon Jinadu, Eleanor Nelly, Jim Bazley and Muzz and Jack. Garys best friend Ian was DJ at the end of the night. We are lucky to have so many talented and generous friends.
We sent online invitations to reduce cost that we designed ourselves. During the ceremony we gave out beautiful notecards for everyone to write their good wishes on. There were no formal seating arrangements, so no name places needed.
Personal or Handmade Touches
Pretty much all of it! I had the vision and then my best friend and ‘best woman’ Gill, helped me with all the foraging and making. I couldn’t have done it without her, especially as my health wasn’t good at all.
There were so many! One was arriving our friends bright orange VW camper van at the venue, just as the sun came out and seeing all our friends and loved ones gathered to welcome us. It was overwhelming! Another was walking down the ailse with my eldest son, Tom and when Gary produced ginger wigs for him and his son, during the ceremony, so they could be officially part of the family! The whole day was magical, comfortable, and so so memorable!
Advice to other couples
It’s not about the money. It’s not about living up to other people’s expectations. It’s about what you want as a couple and what expresses you as people. If you want fish and chips instead of a 3 course dinner or want to wear a silver foil wedding dress, go ahead and do it! Be genuine, be true to yourselves. Set out your intention to create a special day that is a joy to organise. Involve your friends and family, they want to help and be part of it. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. You can have the final word because it’s your day. Make it meaningful.
It was less of a surprise and more of a special moment as testament to a very special moment. At the end of the night when we were going home, Gareth, (Gary’s best man and driver – he owned the VW Camper van) had not only decorated the van with homemade and personalised bunting but had brought us blankets, rich tea biscuits, chocolate and some very fine whisky, which he served to us in champagne flutes to warm us up on our journey home. It was such a thoughtful, kind and funny gesture that summed up the love we had felt from all of our guests during one of the best days of our lives.
I am based in Liverpool but love to travel near and far, so I am always up for adventures across the UK or further afield! For me wedding photography is all about keeping it as relaxed and natural as possible. My style centres on capturing real moments in the most beautiful and artistic ways possible.